In Need of Help


colette_icon.gif munin_icon.gif

Scene Title In Need of Help
Synopsis Munin gives Colette a tip about Agent Ivanov.
Date November 15, 2008

Lower East Side

The Lower East side is one of the oldest neighborhoods in New York City. Starting south of East Hudson Street and west of the East River, it is also bordered by Chinatown and the East Village. Tenemant housing is very prominent here, as well as many religious structures and more than a few excellent kosher delis and bakeries. For those in search of entertainment, the Lower East is home to many bars and live music venues.

It's a daily routine that keeps some people able to cope with the way the world has changed. Structure, predictability, and uniformity that shape and give a semblance of order to an otherwise chaotic world. For some it is their lifeblood, for others it is a distraction, a means to understand that the way things were, and the way things are might not be so different. It's the latter attitude that drives Colette Nichols.

Stepping off of the bus, the young girl pulls the hood of her carnation red sweatshirt up over her head, and unfolds her turquoise colored umbrella (patterns with little yellow ducks) open with a spray of water that had collected in the nylon fabric. She eases away from the bus and onto the sidewalk, hugging her messenger bag close to her chest as she turns around to get her bearings on the street corner. This far south on Orchard street, it's only a hop skip and a jump to China Town, the young girl's ultimate destination, her usual routine for late-afternoon.

But as her eyes upturn to the old tenement buildings across Orchard street, her head cants to the side, peering at the reflection of the slate gray skies in the many unlit windows, and then further up to the rain falling from above, just barely peering below the edge of her umbrella, nose wrinkling slightly. At least it's a warm day.

"Colette Nichols?" The voice comes from the tenement's stoop and belongs to a slim if familiar figure with a wild tangle of dark hair and green eyes that appear almost gray in the drizzling gloom. Bundled up in a damp pea coat, a blood red scarf draped loosely around her neck, Eileen Ruskin descends the front steps with one hand in her pocket and her chin tilted at an inquisitive angle. She looks down at the other girl from beneath her dark lashes as she makes her way down the steps, making no other sound except for the scuff of her flats against the wet cement. Her other hand, the one not in her pocket, trails its gloved fingertips along the stone banister at her flank should she hit a slippery spot and need something to grab hold of.

The call of her name, especially from a voice that only barely registers as familiar, causes Colette to blink her eyes and focus back down on the stoop of the tenement building behind her. Her mouth hangs ever so slightly agape, quickly shifting to a smile as the girl takes hastened steps across the sidewalk towards the older teen, "Eileen!" Her face says it all, showing her surprise and happiness in making this serendipitous connection again. Though the expression changes the closer she gets, her dark brows furrowing together behind choppy bangs as first she notices a split lip, then a slight limp as Eileen favors one leg over the other.

"I — " Her words are swallowed by a faint, anxious sound in the back of her throat. She falters in her stride, stopping just shy of the stoop's first step, "E-Eileen, are — is everything alright?" She immediately — fretfully — looks up towards the apartment building, then clears the rest of the distance, coming to offer some of the shelter of her umbrella from the rain. "You — You um…"

"I'm fine," Eileen, Munin, reassures the younger girl. Her tone, though soft, is also sincere; as much physical pain as her body appears to be in, she sounds relatively unflustered and at ease. Or maybe she's just too exhausted to indicate otherwise. "Listen," she says, slipping under the umbrella alongside Colette, "there's some information about— about your friend. Felix Ivanov?" She pauses to wet her lips, the tip of her tongue lingering over the injury a few seconds longer than the rest of her mouth. "Can I trust you to make sure it finds its way into the right hands?"

Munin's tone is afforded a quizzical tilt of Colette's head to one side, a dark brow rising up as she purses her lips. Eyes settle on the split to her lip, and a faded bruise under her right eye. She swallows, awkwardly, then nods qith a quiet nclining of her head. "I — H-he was saying a lot of stuff, Eileen. I… um, he had to move. T-there was a serial killer, and… and he tried to kill Felix. I was worried about you, but… but he said you'd moved." Her words come out hesitantly, fingers curling around the wooden crook of her umbrella, also fashioned like a duck's head.

"But — Y-yeah um, I — I guess I could pass him some info if you wanted. Is… do you know something about that crazy guy?" One dark brow rises over her blinded eye, head tilting to the other side, like the way a young cat would assess something new to its environment. If only Colette knew just how much Munin knew about a wide variety of mentally unsound individuals.

Munin lets out a small sigh, shaking her head. "Not for," she reiterates. "About. If you go looking for Felix, you won't find him. He's gone. I don't know where he is, but I know who he's with — do you have a pen?" Because she doesn't. She's already digging through her pockets, looking for something she can write with. So far, all she's been able to find are a few paperclips, some packets of sugar she pocketed the last time she was at the Nite Owl, and the cell phone Ethan gave her in case of emergencies. "Peter Petrelli. That's P-E-T-R— fuck me, I don't know how it's spelled. Can you remember that? Petrelli? Peter Petrelli?"

Colette rummages through her messenger bag, pulling out a small leather-bound book with a medallion buckle to keep the strap across its front closed. She unfastens it hastily, cold fingers fumbling with the cover. The pen folded inside almost slides out, revealing a menagerie of heart shapes drawn around a very quickly obscured name as she flips to a blank page. "Peter, Peter, Peter…" The girl recites the name, twirling the pen around to tug the cap off with her teeth, still mumbling the name as she starts to write it down, then stops halfway.

"Putrulli?" She says with the pen cap still between her lips, then spits it out onto the sidewalk. "W-why's Felix with him? Isn't that the guy who like, ran for President? Vote Petrelli and all that?" Well, at least he got the last name right. Her eyes stay focused on Munin as she scribbles the name. "Um, so, like… I'm not sure why I need to write this down. I'm not livin' with him anymore, I got adopted by — " Her eyes narrow slightly, and her head quickly shifts to allow her a side-long view of Munin with her good eye.

"Do… do you need his help? I mean, is…" Her voice lowers a bit, "Is it about your husband?" Always with the wrong conclusions, "I — My um," She stares awkwardly into space for a moment, "Judah, he might be able to help. I — You don't have to put up with that. I… Nobody should hit someone they love." At least her heart's in the right place, even if her head isn't.

Oh, Colette. You sweet, darling girl. Munin actually allows herself a small, rueful smile at what she says, though it doesn't remain on her lips for very long. "My husband doesn't hit me." Which is true. She doesn't have a husband, not that Colette can be expected to know or even suspect such a thing. "I don't know why Felix is with him, only that Petrelli said he'd be 'useful'." If Peter said anything more about his plans for Ivanov, she doesn't remember. As it is, she has enough trouble recalling what little she does remember about that portion of their conversation. Her head gets sore just thinking about it. "I'm pretty sure he's in trouble."

Teeth toy with her lower lip, it's enough to get Colette's anxiety playing up some. Her eyes divert to the street, then her hand reaches down into her messenger bag, pulling out a small black cell phone. She flips it open along one side and starts typing with the thumb of one hand rather rapidly, her eyes only partially locked to the screen.

Judsie. Felix is N trble. Peter Peterli. Call me.

"If he's in trouble, I won't wait till I get home." The young girl's brows tense together, and she divides her focus between the two tasks. "Um, you know… my mom never said my dad hit her either." The girl's voice trails off a bit, "I — I never told anyone he hit me either. Or… you know…" The way she shakes her head, the way her posture changes and shoulders roll forward seem familiar to Munin.

Kay - Trble. Call Jud. <3 Colette.

Her eyes flip back up to Munin after a moment, making sure both text messages get sent, her thumb swiveling the front of her cell phone closed again. "You sure, um… I mean, I won't tell anyone if you just want to talk about it." Her smile becomes a bit more earnest. "People who know how to handle bad stuff got the news, there isn't much I can do about it. I um, m'kinda' generally useless." Her tone is only half-sarcastic, "But, the um, yeah…"

Munin glances down at the keypad, watching the screen as Colette works. She can't really make out what she's typing, but that doesn't concern her — none of the information she's parted with implicates the Vanguard in any way, and Kazimir never said she couldn't involve herself in other matters during her 'time off'. Reaching out, she lightly places the tips of her fingers on Colette's forearm as a silent, less painful way of saying thank you. She's not sure she trusts her voice at a time like this, especially not now that the topic of conversation has shifted to something a little closer to her heart. "I'm fine," she says again, with more conviction than before. "Take care of yourself, all right? And don't worry about me. I have a wonderful family watching my back."

That same look is given again, where her teeth drag over her lower lip. Her pensive gaze meets with Munin's for a moment, then drifts down to the hand on her forearm. "I…" Lips purse to the side as she steals away her words, reconsidering how to go about what she wants to say, and for a moment thinks before speaking. Instead of immediately talking, she pockets her cell phone into the front pouch of her hoodie, then reaches up to lay a hand on the one that came to rest on her forearm. There's a hesitant smile, "If you change your mind…" She can't quite meet Munin's gaze as she says this, "About your family, or… you know, anything?" But she struggles to, letting mis-matched eyes settle on Munin's. "I live over in Le Rivage, it's not far from here. Apartment 109." Her hand squeezes Munin's, then comes to settle off of it.

For a moment it seems like this would be all that's said, but a thought flashes across Colette's face, and just as she was about to turn her face away, she looks back with one eye squinting. "How… do you know that Felix is in trouble, anyway?" Bits and pieces of curious and incongruent thoughts come together, "I mean, I don't…" Her other eye squints now too, inquisitively.

It isn't a question Munin is prepared to answer. She hesitates, eyes growing dark, the corners of her mouth turning down into a tentative frown. "That's something you can ask Felix when he gets back," is the response she eventually settles on, and there's a bitter edge to her voice that wasn't there before. "I'm sure he'll want to tell you all about it." Just like he decided to tell Peter all about her working relationship with Gabriel Gray.

Colette reacts visibly to the change of tone, nervously looking away from Munin for a moment. "I — A-alright…" She knows better than to press things, especially after what happened to Abby. "I-it was… it was good to see you again, Eileen." Mostly truth, even if it's clear the young woman's change of attitude struck Colette a bit poorly given the topic that was raised at the time. "I — I should, I was going to…" She nods her head down the street, cracking an anxious smile. "Have — H-Have a good day, okay?" She hesitates from backing away, a frown downturning her lips. "M'sorry if… I upset you."

"You didn't." But Munin is upset, and she abruptly turns away from Colette, flats dragging on the pavement as she steps out from under the umbrella, beginning to move away from the other girl, parallel to the curb. She's already spent too much time lingering by the tenement. Mindful of the birds perched on the ledges overhead, she picks up her pace, tugs at the lapels of her pea coat and breaks out into a brisk jog.

You can never be too careful.

November 15th: Grey Cells and Waffles

Previously in this storyline…

Next in this storyline…

November 15th: Know Not Wisdom or Fear
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